The Dallas Mavericks Fall Under Orlando's Magical Spell, 117-107

The Dallas Mavericks have been known as streak-busters this season as they have broken six streaks of five or more games.  With eight consecutive wins, the Orlando Magic were not wanting any part of that as they defeated the Mavericks, 117-107, to give Dallas their fifth loss in their last seven games.  Dallas split the season series against the Magic, the last time that they swept the season series against Orlando was during the 2007-2008 season.

The 117 points the Mavericks allowed ended a streak of 11 straight games in holding their opponents below the century mark, it was the longest active streak in NBA.  The last time Dallas gave up 100 points or more was against the Milwaukee Bucks, which was a 103-99 victory for the Bucks.  

“They hit us with threes and an assortment of things offensively.  We couldn’t get the ball in the basket, so it was tough. It was a little bit like the (Thursday night)," Coach Carlisle said.  We’ve just got to keep fighting. It was a tough game to play defensively, because of the way they stretched the floor and Howard. But we did a good job for a good portion of the game, and then they just hit us with a barrage that we couldn’t handle.”

Things looked scary to start as Tyson Chandler collected his first foul within the first 15 seconds of the game.  To their credit, the Mavericks showed a stronger emphasis to attack the Magic defense early in the shot clock.  Jason Kidd's struggles continued to start the game as the first couple of jumpers he took were bad misses.  Coach Carlisle had been preaching that the Mavericks need to defend and rebound well and good things will happen on offense.  Early, they responded to the coach's plea as they were able to get consistent stops on the Magic and that allowed them to run on the break.  DeShawn Stevenson had multiple open looks from beyond the arc and he made the Magic pay for them as he got the Mavericks a 17-15 lead with 5:28 left in the opening quarter.  In the opening quarter, the foul situation between the centers went the Mavericks way as Dwight Howard collected his second foul with 4:07 to go in the first quarter.  Tyson Chandler was able to avoid his second foul as he went to the bench with just over three minutes to go as the Mavericks had a 20-16 lead.  Brendan Haywood made an impact as he entered the game and hit a nice baseline hook-shot and showed some poise with his low-post moves.  Brian Cardinal hit a three-point shot to give the Mavericks an impressive 28-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The trend of the Magic missing their long-range shots continued and the Mavericks made them pay with transition opportunities.  Brian Cardinal hit his second three pointer of the game and gave the Mavericks the lead at 31-19 with 11:08 to go.  JJ Barea got going in the second quarter as he hit a three pointer and got into the lane to hit some tough jumpers.  The Magic were able to respond with a 7-0 run to get them to within 8 points, 40-32, with 6:56 to go in the half.  Stevenson, amongst other starters, came back in and continued the three-point sharpshooting.  Stevenson hit his fifth shot from beyond the arc to give the Mavericks a 48-34 lead.  Things continued to get worse for the Magic as Dwight Howard got his third foul with 3:04 to go in the third quarter.  With Howard unable to patrol the paint, the Mavericks continued their attack with their inside game.  The long range shots started to fall for the Magic as they hit back-to-back threes to game back into single digits at 53-46.  The game went back-and-forth to finish the half as the Mavericks were able to maintain a lead going into halftime, 57-51.  The 57 points marked a new season-high scoring half for the Mavericks.  The previous high was 56 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 7th (first half) and November 24th (second half) and Orlando on December 21st (second half).

The leaders at the half for the Mavericks were DeShawn Stevenson with 17 points on 5-7 from beyond the arc and Jason Terry who chipped in 8 points, 7 assists and two steals.

Jason Kidd started the second half with a long jumper to get off the scoring slump, it was his first basket in over 100 minutes worth of game time.  He then followed that up with three point basket.  The three-ball success for the Magic continued as Jameer Nelson hit another one to get the Magic within four, 64-60.  The Mavericks offense sputtered and that continued to leave the door open for the Magic.  Dwight Howard got going as he hit a couple of low-post shots and that got the Magic within one point, 64-63, with 7:40 to go in the third quarter.  For the Mavericks, Shawn Marion responded as he hit back-to-back buckets to give them a five point lead.  Tyson Chandler received two questionable foul calls within a minute and that put him at four fouls with 6:06 to go in the third quarter with the score 68-64.  With the four fouls, Chandler had to sit out the rest of the quarter.  “(Chandler) is one of our best players, so it hurt,” Carlisle said of Chandler’s foul trouble issues.  The three pointers continued to fall for the Magic in the second half and that put pressure on the Mavericks offense.  JJ Barea re-entered the contest with just under four minutes to go and he helped spark the Mavericks again by forcing the Magic into an offensive foul.  He also attacked the lane and created open floater opportunities for Marion.  In the third quarter, Shawn Marion had 10 points on 4-4 shooting from the field.  Jason Richardson hit a long jumper to get the game tied up at 76-76.  Gilbert Arenas hit a three pointer to give the Magic the lead, 80-79.  It was short-lived as Barea hit a difficult jumper deep inside of the lane and gave the Mavericks the lead at 81-79 going into the final quarter.

Ryan Anderson hit the 11th three point basket for the Magic and that gave the Magic an 88-85 lead with 9:54 to go in the final quarter.  Again, the Mavericks offense couldn't get anything going and that opened the flood gates for the transition game for the Magic as they hit three after three to build their lead to nine, 96-87, with just under 7:30 to go in the game.  The Mavericks couldn't get anything going as the turnovers started to mount and Coach Carlisle grew tired of the situation and he was hit with back-to-back technical fouls and was ejected from the game.  “We’re not going to be an excuse team. I didn’t like the officiating, obviously, but that’s as much as I’m going to say about it. I think calls you disagree with are one of the realities of this league, and when you really disagree a lot you get thrown out of the game,” Carlisle said of the sequence. Chandler was called for a petty offensive foul and it continued to snowball for the center as he was called for his sixth foul with just under 6 minutes to go leading to his disqualification, his parting gift was a technical foul.  Orlando went on a 23-2 spurt to put the game away.  The Mavericks tried to respond with a 7-0 run of their own but the damage was already done.

For the quarter, Orlando shot 11-19 from the field (4-9 from beyond the arc) and shot 13 free throws.  The Mavericks shot 11-22 from the field (2-7 from beyond the arc) and shot 2 free throws. 

For the Magic, Dwight Howard recorded a team-high 23 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks leading to Howard's 27th double-double of the season.  The Mavericks were looking to shut down Howard and keep the long distances shots in check for the Magic, they were unsuccessful.  “We wanted to key in on him (Howard), because if you let him score then they’re not hitting threes,” center Tyson Chandler added. ”But they got both, because they starting threes. But it wasn’t a situation where the were hitting threes wide open, they were hitting threes with a hand in their face. So, we played our game plan, but they outplayed us.”

The Mavericks will take Sunday off before they hit the road for a four game road trip against the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Detroit Pistons.

Quick Notes:

- DeShawn Stevenson finished with a season-high 24 points on 8-13 shooting from the field (6-9 from beyond the arc).  The six three pointers made marks a season career-high.  It was the second time in the last three games he's led the team in scoring.  He's averaging 19.3 points per game over his last four games.

- Brian Cardinal tied a season-high with 9 points on 3-5 shooting from the field in 19 minutes of action off the bench.

- Seven players scored in double figures for Orlando.  It marked the seventh straight game of at least six players scoring in double figures for the Magic.  According to the Ellias Sports Bureau, it's the longest such streak in in the NBA in the last 18 seasons.  The 2009-2010 Utah Jazz are the only other team to have six players score in double figures in six consecutive games.

- Dirk Nowitzki missed his seventh straight game due to a sprained right knee.  It marks the most games he's missed in a season in his career.  The Mavericks are 24-5 with Dirk and they are 2-5 without him.

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